Drinking Colas Could Be Like Drinking Carcinogens

By R. Siva Kumar - 22 Feb '15 21:22PM

Those who like to drink one or more cans of cold drinks everyday like to drink liquid carcinogens, says a new study, according to indianexpress.com.

The chemical, 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), which is a possible carcinogen, is manufactured when some drinks in caramel colour are formed. This is normally found in all colas and other soft drinks.

"Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes," said Keeve Nachman, senior author of the study.

After analysing 4-MEI concentrations in 11 different soft drinks, in an article first published by Consumer Reports in 2014, scientists estimated its exposure to 4-MEI from caramel-coloured soft drinks and said that the potential cancer burden was related to cola drink consumption in the US, according to nydaily.com.

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 "This unnecessary exposure poses a threat to public health and raises questions about the continued use of caramel colouring in soda," says Nachman of Johns Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future (CLF).

The study found that between 44% and 58% of children above the age of six consume at least one can of soda per day, possibly more, which exposes them to the risk of carcinogens. It followed a study in 2014, looking into 110 samples of soda brands in the US, which made the researchers come to the conclusion that the sample was not large enough to recommend any specific brands or arrive at conclusions.

Research shows that 4-MEI levels could be different for various samples, even if the drinks consumed are the same. Even though no federal limit for 4-MEI has been set in food or beverages, Consumer Reports said that the Food and Drug Administration could put limits for the carcinogen.

"This new analysis underscores our belief that people consume significant amounts of soda that unnecessarily elevate their risk of cancer over the course of a lifetime," said Urvashi Rangan, executive director for Consumer Reports' Food Safety and Sustainability Center.

The results were published online in the journal PLOS One.

TAGScaramel, 4-MEI, Keeve Nachman, carcinogens, 4-methylimidazole, Consumer Reports, caramel colouring, Food and Drug Administration, cola drinks, caramel coloring
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